Daniel Todd Gilbert · 263 pages
Rating: (43.4K votes)
“My friends tell me that I have a tendency to point out problems without offering solutions, but they never tell me what I should do about it.”
“Our brain accepts what the eyes see and our eye looks for whatever our brain wants.”
“The fact that we often judge the pleasure of an experience by its ending can cause us to make some curious choices.”
“If you are like most people, then like most people, you don't know you're like most people.”
“Psychologists call this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage.”
“Our inability to recall how we really felt is why our wealth of experiences turns out to be poverty of riches.”
“Impact is rewarding. Mattering makes us happy.”
“Most of us appear to believe that we are more athletic, intelligent, organized, ethical, logical, interesting, open-minded, and healthy-not to mention more attractive-than the average person.”
“In short, we derive support for our preferred conclusions by listening to the words that we put in the mouths of people who have already been preselected for their willingness to say what we want to hear.”
“Each of us is trapped in a place, a time and a circumstance and our attempt to use our mind to transcend those boundaries are more often than not ineffective.”
“We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of most of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy... But our temporal progeny are often thankless. We toil and sweat to give them just what we think they will like, and they quit their jobs, grow their hair, move to or from San Francisco, and wonder how we could ever have been stupid enough to think they’d like that. We fail to achieve the accolades and rewards that we consider crucial to their well-being, and they end up thanking God that things didn’t work out according to our shortsighted, misguided plan.”
“People want to be happy, and all the other things they want are typically meant to be a means to that end.”
“The things we do when we expect our lives to continue are naturally and properly different than the things we might do if we expected them to end abruptly. We go easy on the lard and tobacco, smile dutifully at yet another of our supervisor's witless jokes, read books like this one when we could be wearing paper hats and eating pistachio macaroons in the bathtub, and we do each of these things in the charitable service of the people we will soon become.”
“Why isn’t it fun to watch a videotape of last night’s football game even when we don’t know who won? Because the fact that the game has already been played precludes the possibility that our cheering will somehow penetrate the television, travel through the cable system, find its way to the stadium, and influence the trajectory of the ball as it hurtles toward the goalposts!”
“Economies thrive when individuals strive, but because individuals will only strive for their own happiness, it is essential that they mistakenly believe that producing and consuming are routes to personal well-being.”
“Consider this scenario.
You own shares in Company A. During the past year you considered switching to stock in Company B but decided against it. You now find that you would have been better off by 1200$ if you had switched to the stock of Company B. You also owned shares in Company C. During the past year you switched to stock in Company D. You now find out that you'd have been better off by 1200$, if you kept your stock in Company C.
Which error causes you more regret? Studies show that about
Immune to Reality nine out of ten people expect to feel more regret when they foolishly switch stocks than when they foolishly fail to switch stocks, because most people think they will regret foolish actions more than foolish inactions. But studies also show that nine out of ten people are wrong.
Indeed, in the long run, people of every age and in every walk of life seem to regret "not" having
done things much more than they regret things they "did", which is why the most popular regrets include not going to college, not grasping profitable business opportunities, and not spending enough time with family and friends.”
“Perhaps the strangest thing about this illusion of control is not that it happens but that it seems to confer many of the psychological benefits of genuine control. In fact, the one group of people who seem generally immune to this illusion are the clinically depressed, who tend to estimate accurately the degree to which they can control events in most situation.”
“Imagination cannot easily transcend the boundaries of the present, and one reason for this is that it must borrow machinery that is owned by perception. The fact that these two processes must run on the same platform means that we are sometimes confused about which one is running. We assume that what we feel as we imagine the future is what we’ll feel when we get there, but in fact, what we feel as we imagine the future is often a response to what’s happening in the present.”
“The belief-transmission network of which we are a part cannot operate without a continuously replenished supply of people to do the transmitting, thus the belief that children are a source of happiness becomes a part of our cultural wisdom simply because the opposite belief unravels the fabric of any society that holds it.”
“Your mistake was not in imagining things you could not know—that is, after all, what imagination is for. Rather, your mistake was in unthinkingly treating what you imagined as though it were an accurate representation of the facts.”
“The average newspaper boy in Pittsburgh knows more about the universe than did Galileo, Aristotle, Leonardo, or any of those other guys who were so smart they only needed one name.”
“Among life’s cruellest truths is this one: wonderful things are especially wonderful the first time they happen, but their wonderfulness wanes with repetition.”
“Whatever you are thinking, your thoughts are surely about something other than the word with which this sentence will end. But even as you hear these very words echoing in your very head, and think whatever thoughts they inspire, your brain is using the word it is reading right now and the words it read just before to make a reasonable guess about the identity of the word it will read next, which is what allows you to read so fluently.4 Any brain that has been raised on a steady diet of film noir and cheap detective novels fully expects the word night to follow the phrase It was a dark and stormy, and thus when it does encounter the word night, it is especially well prepared to digest it. As long as your brain’s guess about the next word turns out to be right, you cruise along happily, left to right, left to right, turning black squiggles into ideas, scenes, characters, and concepts, blissfully unaware that your nexting brain is predicting the future of the sentence at a fantastic rate. It is only when your brain predicts badly that you suddenly feel avocado.”
“The reality of the moment is so palpable and powerful that it holds imagination in a tight orbit from which it never fully escapes.”
“Arthritic toothless people who love orgasms are more likely to reproduce than are limber, toothy people who do not.”
“The human being is the only animal that thinks about the future.”
“As the philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, "It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they know only their own side of the question.”
“So what motivates people to work hard every day to do things that will satisfy the economy’s needs but not their own? Like so many thinkers, Smith believed that people want just one thing—happiness—hence economies can blossom and grow only if people are deluded into believing that the production of wealth will make them happy.14 If and only if people hold this false belief will they do enough producing, procuring, and consuming to sustain their economies.”
“As one philosopher noted, the human brain is an "anticipation machine," and "making future" is the most important thing it does.”
“Studies such as these demonstrate that once we have an experience, we cannot simply set it aside and see the world as we would have seen it had the experience never happened.”
“You're not asking me to guess the mind of Matrim Cauthon, are you?" Elayne asked. "I'm convinced that Mat only acts simple so that people will let him get away with more.”
“All I could really think was how much I wanted to sleep. How much I wanted to be in a different world other than the one I was in.”
“Oh. Yeah, um…” I was pretty sure I matched a fire truck. “He’s a heavy sleeper.”
“I’m sure he is.” Dominic stepped back. “If you wish to join your uncle, I’ll be waiting outside. You should have time to get ready. Your uncle is a…heavy sleeper, also.”
Whaaaa…and then it hit me. Ew. Ew. Ew.”
“Longing on a large scale makes history.”
“Dad, youre so far off the mark I can't even...Lincoln hasn't pressured me at all!" I grabbed my bag and heaved it onto my back. "WE'RE JUST FRIENDS! He's not even interested in me like that - and thanks to you," I shook my head at him in utter disbelief, "he never will now.”
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